Wednesday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, with the theme this year ‘Be Bold for Change’.

To highlight the importance of equality and celebrate the diversity we have in hipages, we have decided to dedicate the week to understanding more about gender equality issues and showcasing some of the wonderful and bold women we have in the team.  Whilst we do have gender equality overall as a company (48% women, 52% male) which is something we are proud of and is rare in the technology industry, women are still underrepresented in some of our teams, in management roles and on our Board – so we have work to do.

One of the ways we improve our understanding of issues and help pave the way for others is to share stories of successful women and their experience.  We will post the stories of a few of the many wonderful bold women in hipages each day this week.

Please Meet Paulie Savantpaulie-hs

Paulie is one of our new team members at hipages and has very quickly wowed everyone with her enthusiasm, passion and skills. Moving from India to Sydney, Paulie initially found it challenging to find the right employment here until she finally found her ‘home’ with hipages.

Paulie has faced gender discrimination at some points in her career and it is her sheer determination and courage that has kept her focused, moving forward and becoming successful.  Paulie believes that her being clear on what her passion and purpose is has helped her strive forward to eventually work in a role she loves.

Paulie loves that hipages “feels like I’m a part of an extremely diverse family” and that our culture and leadership encourage unique points of view, innovation and collaboration. Paulie encourages others to face their fears, keep focused on their long term goals and trust in themselves.

Paulie explains what Being Bold for change means for her :  “For me being ‘bold’ is being true to one’s authentic self and doing what is right not just for yourself but everyone else as well. Being bold is tough work. It doesn’t happen in that one precise moment of courage, it needs to be sustained long before and even after that moment passes”.

Here’s what Tracy Richardson, Paulie’s manager had to say :

Paulie has made a significant contribution to hipages efforts to become a household brand name by playing a key role in delivering our first TV campaign. Alongside rolling out the business hipages brand book, managing our brand health monitor and ensuring we extract maximum benefit from our media expenditure.”

Read the full interview here:

How did you get to where you are today in your career?

The strongest but kindest woman I know is the reason for me being where I’m today. My father passed away when my brother & I were in school and our mother raised us single-handedly, working hard, fighting societal battles, with a smile on her face, instilling staunch values of kindness, resilience, dignity and respect for others in us. Seeing our mum study while working and go from being an accounts staff to leading a telephone technology section for India’s then largest telephone company, was unknowingly living with inspiration 24/7. She was relentless in her purpose and her purpose wasn’t to lead teams or do something great but simply to give her kids a safe & secure life. Also, somewhere the boldness kicked in when I realised I was one parent short, although my mother was way more than even some couple parents I know of.

The world of brand storytelling has always fascinated me. Brands are ideas- deeply rooted simple human insights. The curiosity to learn and build ideas into loved brands, give meaning to products and services, inspire people and enrich lives, is the reason for me doing what I do today and where I am. This fascination has taken me across a wide variety of industries on one heck of an enjoyable joyride from Consumer Goods (Coca Cola, cigarettes, biscuits, mineral water and beverages) to Content- Sports, entertainment, SVOD, and now tech brands.

How has being ‘bold’ made a difference to your life and career?

Immensely. It has shaped who I am today and helped me in having a fulfilling career and life so far.  I started working very early to not burden my mother and to be thrivingly independent. I compèred  corporate shows, funded my college and MBA education. It paid more than my MBA salary but as a ‘good’ Indian I was raised to get a pedigree education.

I started my professional education and career in an extremely male dominated field. In the MBA school the gender ratio was 1:6 (female:male). The fight started early on, one had to be bold to be heard, to shine through and get what one deserved. Getting placed in the most coveted company on campus and hearing things like ‘ah cause you are a girl!” was just the start.

I joined an industry overcrowded with men- FMCG Sales. I have been blessed to have worked with some incredible bosses and peers. However a couple of bosses I worked with were filled with biases – gender, age, education and far from even being pleasant to talk to. Each interaction with them played on my confidence and at times like this, perseverance and boldness were the only things I had, to sail through.

Tell us what you do and why you bring your passion to hipages?

I build brands. I ensure that the right insights and ideas are chosen so they become a part of people’s lives, thereby creating cherished brands. I help build a solid human proposition for hipages and make the idea travel as far and wide across the country as possible.

When my career was at its peak, I left India to be with my love in Sydney. The movement was drastic, I went from being one of the star performers for 21st Century Fox leading high performing teams to starting afresh. Starting afresh is humbling but can be frustrating at times. Once in the Aussie job market, without any contacts or connections, I realised that not my gender but my skin colour was an issue on some occasions. All of this changed from the moment I met the hipages team. From the first phone call to today, it feels like I’m a part of an extremely diverse family, where human respect is the bedrock of everything that we do and contribution is the measure.

Very rarely do you find organisations that led with their values, hipages is one such team, where each one of us, not only talks to but walks the values, we genuinely want to Build a better Australia. Curiosity and drive to do great things with the purpose of enriching lives, guides hipages and it matches with my own personality.

Are you are comfortable to achieve want you want to at hipages?

At hipages I can be my authentic self. It is only when that happens, can people thrive and grow. Our shared values bind us together in the journey to our larger company purpose.

The Tech world is extremely nimble, agile and fascinating but somewhere at that ridiculous pace basic human values are often lost. At hipages, our values lead us and percolate through every team. The company founders and senior leaders are thoroughly grounded and accessible, which is a rare find. Our values are people oriented, even Innovation is looked through the lens of “Innovation that makes life better”. It is delightful working in this environment that cherishes its people for their unique point of views and efforts.

Do you have any words of wisdom/advice to others who may have been stopped in their tracks in being ‘be bold for change’?

At hipages you don’t have to be bold for change, change is the foundation of hipages’ existence. At hipages the energies can be focussed on doing great things rather than fighting to be bold and heard.

Having worked in places where they expect you to blend in rather than cherish your unique personality, at hipages there is no facade. It is truly one of the most diverse places I have worked at, with an equal gender ratio and Adelaine our top-notch Technical Lead is also our Head of Diversity and Inclusion!

Throughout your career how have you been bold for change?

You don’t get brand roles straight up in global consumer goods companies. I spent two years on tough sales jobs learning ground realities while dreaming of a brand role. All this while I was the only woman in the whole state level sales territory. Boldness and self-belief helped immensely to stay on my path.

An MBA helps you get into the biggest companies but once you start working it’s only you. The bigger the organisation, the bigger the ego’s and when a young woman presents a fresh point of view, sometimes it is not taken well. I have had bosses who have looked through my female colleagues and me while talking and in such a case being bold for change is making sure your opinions are presented, heard and respected for their merit.

Half our human population are women and how many in the corporate world? Corporates are doing a good job of ensuring the change focused journey but charity begins at home. The change needs to start in each and every home, where we need to check our own biases and raise not just strong girls but empathetic boys as well. Knowingly hiring more deserving women in my team, seeking out women mentors, not letting any biases affect my decision making are some of the steps I have taken.

Do you have any words of wisdom/advice to others who may have been stopped in their tracks in being ‘be bold for change’?

  • Most of the times due to our groundless fears, we are our biggest hurdle in being bold for change. Our mind tricks us with an overabundance of thoughts. Sometimes, just asking and saying what we want from the other person helps. Ask for the salary that you deserve, more work, higher responsibility, a new role, or just more respect. The worst that can happen is the person can say no.

  • To gain strength to be bold, look back at the journey you have had so far. We all have had moments of sheers brilliance that we should cherish and inspire ourselves with. Keep the long term goal in mind and you will act accordingly. But remember to have a goal, have a purpose.

  • Trust yourself, you know the best for you. A couple of years ago we were kids, brimming with innocence and audacity that got weakened by the years and environment. The dejections, rejections, battles, and worries built fears and diluted the courage. Be in touch with that child within you, be audacious and naive.

But remember fools are extremely bold as well. Let your innate intelligence guide your boldness.

#BeBoldForChange

For me being ‘bold’ is being true to one’s authentic self and doing what is right not just for yourself but everyone else as well. Being bold is tough work. It doesn’t happen in that one precise moment of courage, it needs to be sustained long before and even after that moment passes.

Find out more about International Women’s Day here – https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ #BeBoldForChange #IWD2017